Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

The steady rise of women in Taiwanese politics

Read more

FASHION

For summer 2017 menswear, designers interrogate the complexity of modern life

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf hails 'milestone' as UN peacekeepers leave Liberia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The 'Brexecution' of Boris Johnson

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

State of British Politics 'Worse than Shakespeare'

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

From London to Abu Dhabi: How Brexit sent shockwaves across the world

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Carney: UK suffering from 'economic post-traumatic stress'

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Liberia UNMIL mission: Peacekeepers prepare to hand over to government

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Boris Backs Out After Brexit

Read more

Kouchner: France paid no ransom for Betancourt

Latest update : 2008-07-06

France's foreign minister said "no French money" was paid to free hostages held by Colombian rebels. Meanwhile, former hostage Ingrid Betancourt got a clean bill of health from French military doctors.

Click here to send us your reactions following Ingrid Betancourt's rescue


In an interview with the French Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper published on Sunday, France's foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, denied a ransom was paid to Colombian rebels to release a group of hostages, including the French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt.

"I never heard about any money," he said. "Clearly, there was no French money. That commando operation was only an infiltration operation, which was skilfully prepared over a long period of time."

Reports of a ransom being paid have been denied repeatedly by Colombian officials, and on Friday Colombia's military showed a video of hostages sobbing with relief aboard a helicopter upon discovering they had been freed.

The video was released to counter questions about the military's dramatic and bloodless coup, Defence Minister Juan Manuel Santos denied reports that it was arranged in advance with the help of 20 million dollars (12.7 million euros) paid to bribe the hostages' guards.


Clean bill of health for Betancourt

Betancourt said she had been given a clean bill of health on Saturday after a series of medical tests at a Paris military hospital.

"The doctors showered me with good news. I have had a number of concerns all these years. Now, I'm totally happy," she told France 3.

The 46-year-old former hostage, who was freed on Wednesday, spent almost seven hours at the Val-de-Grace military hospital.

She said she was "very, very surprised" not to have any physical side effects after more than six years of captivity in the hands of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

"The spirit helps you to carry on," said Betancourt, who has often spoken of her Catholic faith and of a "spiritual protection".

However, doctors have warned against the psychological effects of captivity following the initial euphoria, including depression and lack of self-confidence which could be lasting.

Date created : 2008-07-06

COMMENT(S)